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Virgin Media To Partner With 3 UK On Wi-Fi Plans?

Virgin media may well partner with 3 UK or even buy it in order to increase its presence in the mobile carrier and mobile broadband market.

Technology and telecoms analyst firm, Ovum, reckon that 3 UK, which is owned by Hutchinson Whampoa, may provide Virgin Media with the necessary network to extend its services.

Steven Hartley told V3 that "By partnering with Three, the opportunity to cross sell is present as Virgin has a reputation as a content provider and a lot of multimedia that it wants to push out."

Such a venture comes with a lot of promises; the merger of T-Mobile with Orange to form Everything Everywhere means that 3 UK, Virgin Mobile and other smaller mobile phone operators, all of which depend to some extent on the big three, are being squeezed out.

O2, EE and Vodafone all have some level of triple play as they offer landline & mobile telephony as well as fixed and mobile broadband. 3 UK doesn't have this wealth of features, something that Virgin Media may offer.

Furthermore, the fact that 3 UK has its own 3G network means that Virgin Media may reduce its dependence on T-Mobile and offer more attractive mobile packages than it currently does.

A potential buyout of 3 UK by Virgin Media is perfectly possible although it doesn't come with a number of issues; Virgin Media's outstanding debt currently stands at £5.7 billion (you can view the company's new debt repayment profile here) which makes a straight forward acquisition near impossible.